Owning a car can make your life much more convenient. However, you must keep up with your ride’s maintenance needs to enjoy optimal service throughout its useful life. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot on repairs and premature replacements. Here’s a complete auto maintenance checklist to help with your car ownership journey.
1. Auto Insurance
Regardless of where you drive, car accidents are a common occurrence. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation reports 34,247 collisions in the country in 2017. 52,645 motor vehicles were involved in these crashes, and 37,133 individuals suffered fatalities.
If you’re found to be at fault for a car accident, you may be held liable for any related expenses. This includes lost wages, medical costs, and legal fees of the other party. Besides that, you’ll also be financially responsible for any of your vehicle’s repair or replacement costs and medical care expenses. You’ll probably have to pay for these expenses out of pocket if you don’t have certain coverage.
There are three primary policy categories for car insurance to consider including in your complete auto insurance checklist. These include comprehensive, collision, and liability insurance. Liability coverage is typically mandatory as it covers damage to another driver’s car. Comprehensive and collision coverage aren’t a requirement in all states. However, even if buying your vehicle outright, investing in these coverages is wise.
Regardless of who’s at fault, a collision cover will pay for damages to your vehicle. On the other hand, comprehensive insurance covers damage due to vandalism or a natural disaster like excess rainfall. While these three main types will give you financial protection in most events, other coverages are worth considering.
You may want to invest in an umbrella policy for protection in case of large liability claims. To understand this cover better, let’s create an example scenario. Your actions resulted in an accident, and the other driver filed a claim worth $750,000 against you. However, your policy has a limit of $500,000. In this case, an umbrella policy will cover the difference.
You can also get personal injury protection and medical payment coverage. These will cover any medical bills you may incur in case of an accident. It may also pay for your passengers’ hospital stays, surgeries, and medical bills.
Although liability insurance is legally mandated, some people still drive without it. An uninsured motorist coverage will cover you if the driver whose actions resulted in the accident doesn’t carry insurance. In some states, all motorists must carry this coverage. It would be best if you also considered investing in underinsured motorist coverage. This policy will help you pay for any expenses related to injuries or damages you sustain due to the actions of a motorist without enough coverage.
To ensure you get the best deal, don’t just settle on the first automobile insurance quote you get. Meet with multiple insurance agents and ask to look at different packages before making a final decision. Insurance premiums will make up a significant portion of your car ownership costs, so don’t settle for anything that doesn’t meet your complete auto maintenance needs.
2. Roadside Help
Imagine enjoying the freedom of driving down the open road while taking in the magnificent views and listening to your latest favorite tunes on full blast. Then, without warning, you hear a loud sputtering sound coming from under the hood, and your ride suddenly stops. As the fact that you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere dawns on you, you feel your heart sink and start to panic. What should you do? This is where auto roadside assistance services come in handy. Think of it like having a complete auto maintenance guardian angel always on standby, waiting to come to your rescue when unexpected car troubles arise.
Roadside assistance provides a range of services for motorists. These vary with each provider, so ensure you inquire beforehand. If you run out of fuel, leaving you stranded, they can deliver enough fuel to get your car to the closest gas station. If your car breaks down, rendering it immobile, your roadside assistance service will send a tow truck to where you are to take it to the nearest garage.
There are cases when your battery may die while you’re on the road. Here, the towing provider will give you a quick jump-start to allow you to get back on your journey. Anyone can experience an auto lockout. Such an occurrence can be quite unsettling, especially in a strange place or in the dark.
A roadside assistance provider will send someone with the necessary lockout tools to help you regain access to your vehicle. You can also get help when you experience a flat tire. A professional mechanic will come to where you are and either change or perform a quick patch job and use an air hose to reinflate it so you can move again. However, if the issue is more extensive, they’ll tow you to the nearest auto shop for a more thorough fix.
Depending on your provider, you may also get winching services. If your car gets stuck in snow or mud, a tow truck fitted with a winch will be sent to pull it out. While roadside assistance will come at a cost, you can add it to your insurance coverage to help relieve the burden of paying out-of-pocket.
3. Accident Lawyers
Nobody desires to be involved in an accident. It can cause severe injuries and have a major negative impact on your financial situation. Costs for everything from repairs to medical care can add up fast, leaving you with thousands of dollars you have to pay but you maybe can’t afford. Thankfully, options are available to help with your finances and complete auto maintenance.
For example, car insurance policies exist to ensure you have a financial cushion in case of an accident so you can meet the costly demands that typically arise after an accident. However, auto insurance plans by themselves might not be adequate. Some insurance providers can decline to compensate you even if you qualify. In such a case, you need the legal expertise of a car accident attorney.
However, such legal professionals aren’t always needed, and they obviously don’t come free. So, how can you determine whether you require legal assistance to navigate the complexities of auto accidents so you don’t spend money on an expense you can avoid? Certain signs can help you answer this question.
You’re most certainly entitled to compensation if the accident caused any injury to you. However, that doesn’t mean obtaining fair compensation will be easy, especially if it involves another driver who doesn’t hold insurance. In such a situation, the burden of proof will fall on you. You must demonstrate that you suffered injuries from the collision and that the other driver was at fault. Doing this alone can present a challenge, but an auto accident attorney can make things much easier.
Another scenario where you may need to enlist the help of this legal professional is if more than two parties are involved. For instance, the impact of a collision may result in unsecured cargo flying off one car, causing another driver to swerve in an attempt to avoid it. However, they end up hitting a third vehicle or pedestrian. In states where comparative negligence laws divide the liability, a car accident lawyer will help ensure you only pay for your share of the resulting damages.
In some cases, you may need to obtain car crash evidence that requires a court order during the discovery stage of litigation. For instance, most new cars feature a ‘black box’ that records data for a few seconds after a collision. From the data, you might be able to determine how fast the automobile was moving or whether the driver had their seatbelt on. However, you can’t access such valuable information without a court order. Here, you’ll need an attorney’s help.
When an accident occurs and you incur injuries, it can be upsetting and disappointing when the insurance provider for the at-fault party rejects your claim. Sometimes, insurance companies will reject your claim or offer a payout that falls short of what you need to recover your losses. To ensure you get the compensation you’re due, you’ll need the help of a car accident attorney who understands the reasons behind insurance companies’ claim denials and how to challenge them.
4. Vehicle HVAC
Your car’s air conditioning and heating system should come on strong to swiftly cool the interior on sweltering summer days and provide warmth on frigid nights. If the air conditioner isn’t keeping you cool enough, or it takes a long time for the heat to warm up the cabin, you likely have an underlying repair need. With routine, complete auto maintenance from a professional auto technician, you can keep the HVAC system of your automobile functioning optimally.
Besides cooling your car’s interior, your AC purifies the air and regulates humidity levels. Dust and other impurities may fill the air in your automobile when the AC system isn’t operating properly. Keeping up with the maintenance needs of your auto air conditioning system will ensure fresh, cool air for you and your passengers.
When it starts getting hot outside, and your AC isn’t functioning, the logical solution is to open the windows so cool air enters the car. The problem with this is it increases drag, resulting in your car using more fuel than it normally would. Staying on top of this component’s maintenance will help ensure better fuel economy, saving you money on car ownership costs.
5. Interior and Exterior Cleaning
Keeping your car clean is one of the simplest yet important complete auto maintenance tasks. One of the most apparent benefits of regularly taking your car to a professional car wash is the aesthetic boost. A clean car will always look more attractive than a dirty one. Besides that, keeping your car clean will preserve and possibly increase its value if it’s a vintage model.
This is particularly important if you intend to sell or trade your automobile. A clean will instantly catch the eye of potential buyers. There are also some practical benefits to getting regular mobile auto detailing. For example, when your car is clean, it’ll be easier to see out of, which is particularly important during inclement weather. This can make the difference between getting into an accident and avoiding one.
Rust, grime, and dirt cause certain parts to become less efficient and may spread damage to the car’s other components. Clean car parts last longer and perform more efficiently throughout their useful life. These are just the tip of the iceberg of the benefits you’ll enjoy.
6. Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles often require less maintenance than their internal combustion counterparts. However, they’re still intricate machines that need upkeep. This typically includes familiar tasks like changing the cabin air filters, replenishing fluids, and rotating tires. Besides this, there are other EV-specific services that EV owners need to ensure.
For example, since an electric vehicle is like a giant gadget, complete auto maintenance involves regular software updates. These ensure your EV runs longer between EV charging stations, address security issues, and schedule and reschedule maintenance appointments. As soon as you’re informed of an update for your car’s software, don’t be tempted to postpone it because things seem to be working fine. You may be missing out on some great features.
7. Routine Maintenance
Think of routine, complete auto maintenance like seeing your doctor for your health check-ups. You may not necessarily be sick, but they’ll help you know what lifestyle changes to make and if you need early intervention for a developing health issue. People overlook auto maintenance because they consider it an unnecessary expense.
However, this quickly changes when their car breaks down, and they find that they need an expensive repair job like an engine replacement that they could have easily avoided. Putting off a car service is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your car ownership journey. With time, it’ll catch up, and you’ll spend a significant portion of your time getting local car repairs. Routine maintenance will allow you to enjoy better service from your car’s useful life.
If you take care of your car, it’ll take care of you back. It’s that simple. You can use this read to help you with complete auto maintenance.